Taliesin Studio

Wednesday, November 23, 2011  
Taliesin Studio

So, Kato, you’re talking about Madame Taliesin and her studio, aren’t you?

Oh no, I am not.

Whose studio are you talking about, then?

Did you read the following article?


(November 1, 2011)

Yes, I did, Kato… What about it?

I’ve written a story about Swansea and your forefather.

Yes, I remember it clearly now.  Taliesin seems prevailing all over the world, and your story about Karuizawa Taliesin is also interesting to me.

Karuizawa Taliesin


You explained to me why the theme park is called “Karuizawa Taliesin.”

In Middle Welsh, “Taliesin” means “shining brow.”  In the Celtic mythology, Taliesin also means a wise man, who is related to a fairy, called “Taliesin”, who promoted the art.  Frank Lloyd Wright, an American architect, called his work place “Taliesin” and produced a lot of creative works.  Sympathetic to the architect’s idea, the creator of the theme park in Karuizawa also called his park “Karuizawa Taliesin” and wanted to make it as a base for new cultural power.

So, Diane, you still remember it, eh?

Yes, of course.  I wish my Dad was still alive so I could share it with him.  You’ve done a good research, Kato.

I’m glad to hear that.  And you know, Diane, the same kind of facility exists in Swansea, don’t you?

Yes, you told me that.

Taliesin Arts Centre

The Taliesin Arts Centre is owned and managed by the University of Wales, Swansea and is located on the university campus. The venue hosts a broad programme of events including cinema screenings, an average of ten visiting exhibitions per year, and a variety of live performances, from dance and drama to jazz and world music. Taliesin Arts Centre also houses the Egypt Centre. The two-storey gallery contains an important collection of antiquities from Ancient Egypt.

The Taliesin provides a service to both students and the people of Swansea and acts as a regional centre. Performers in recent years have included Jamie Cullum, Clare Teal, Billy Cobham and Paco Pena.

In addition to hosting regular touring exhibitions, the Taliesin’s Oriel Ceri Richards Gallery also stocks a range of greetings cards as well as jewellery, ceramics and other craft items, and includes a café bar.

SOURCE: Taliesin Arts Centre,
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So, today, I’m talking about the famous Taliesin Studio in the States.

Do you mean the studio of Frank Lloyd Wright?

Yes, that’s right.

Taliesin East

This is Taliesin East.  It is located near Spring Green, Wisconsin.

…looks like a small castle, doesn’t it?

Yes, it does.  It was Frank Wright’s summer home.

Why did he call it Taliesin?

As I said before, he chose the name of the Welsh bard Taliesin, whose name means “shining brow” or “radiant brow”.  So, he positioned the home on the “brow” of a hill—a favorite of his from childhood, rather than on the peak.

Why not on the peak?

…’Cause, in that way, the home would appear as though it arose naturally from the landscape.  In his words, “…not on the land, but of the land”.  ”Naturally” is the key word, you know…The home was designed with three wings that included his living quarters, an office, and farm buildings.  He used this home as a way to explore his ideas of organic architecture.  The chimneys and stone piers were built from local limestone, laid by the stonemasons in a way that evoked the outcroppings of Wisconsin’s surrounding area.  The sand from the nearby Wisconsin River was mixed into the stucco walls to evoke the river’s sandbars.

I still wonder why he chose the Welsh bard, not the world-famous English bard—William Shakespeare.

A good question, Diane…Well, his mother’s family, the Lloyd-Joneses, came from Wales to Spring Green, Wisconsin.  Apparently, he was emotionally attached to his mother, rather than to his father.

How come?

‘Cause his parents divorced in 1885.  His father left, and Frank never saw him again.  He didn’t like his father.  So, at this time Frank changed his middle name from Lincoln to Lloyd in honor of his mother’s family, the Lloyd Joneses.

I see… Frank valued his mother’s cultural background more than his father’s, didn’t he?

Yes, that’s right.  And Frank began the building in 1911 after leaving his first wife, Catherine Tobin.

How come he left his wife?

Frank Wright had an affair with Mamah Borthwick Cheney, who was one of his clients, along with her husband, Edwin Cheney.

So, he came to love the wife of his client…Wow!

Midlife Crisis

Local gossips noticed Wright’s flirtations, and he developed a reputation in Oak Park as a man-about-town.
His family had grown to six children, and the brood required most of Catherine’s attention.
In 1903, Wright designed a house for Edwin Cheney, a neighbor in Oak Park, and immediately took a liking to Cheney’s wife, Mamah Borthwick Cheney.

Mamah Cheney was a modern woman with interests outside the home.
She was an early feminist and Wright viewed her as his intellectual equal.
The two fell in love, even though Wright had been married for almost 20 years.
Often the two could be seen taking rides in Wright’s automobile through Oak Park, and they became the talk of the town.

Wright’s wife, Kitty, was sure that this attachment would fade as the others had, and refused to grant him a divorce.
Neither would Edwin Cheney grant one to Mamah.

In 1909, even before the Robie House was completed, Wright and Mamah Cheney went together to Europe, leaving their own spouses and children behind.
The scandal that erupted virtually destroyed Wright’s ability to practice architecture in the United States.

SOURCE: Frank Lloyd Wright
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So, Kitty considered her husbant to be a womanizer, didn’t she?

…seems like it.

Since he became world-famous, the scandal didn’t actually destroy his career, did it?

No, it didn’t.  But the above scandal wasn’t the last.

Oh…?  Are you saying, Kato, Frank Wright had another one?

Yes, I am.  A much worse one was in store.

More personal turmoil

On August 15, 1914, while Wright was working in Chicago, Julian Carlton, a male servant from Barbados who had been hired several months earlier, set fire to the living quarters of Taliesin and murdered seven people with an axe as the fire burned.
The dead included Mamah; her two children, John and Martha; a gardener; a draftsman named Emil Brodelle; a workman; and another workman’s son.
Two people survived the mayhem, one of whom helped to put out the fire that almost completely consumed the residential wing of the house.
Carlton swallowed muriatic acid immediately following the attack in an attempt to kill himself.
He was nearly lynched on the spot, but was taken to the Dodgeville jail.
Carlton died from starvation seven weeks after the attack, despite medical attention.

In 1922, Wright’s first wife, Kitty, granted him a divorce, and Wright was required to wait one year until he married his then-partner, Maude “Miriam” Noel.
In the following year, Wright’s mother, Anna Wright, died.
Wright wed Miriam Noel in November 1923, but her addiction to morphine led to the failure of the marriage in less than one year.

SOURCE: Frank Lloyd Wright
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wow!  What an aweful midlife crisis!

Yes, it was indeed.

I suppose, Frank Wright overcame the problem somehow.

Yes, he did.  Another woman was coming along for that.

Kato, you must be kidding!

You believe it or not, this woman appeared like an angel.

Frank and Olga

In 1924, after the separation but while still married, Wright met Olga (Olgivanna) Lazovich Hinzenburg at a Petrograd Ballet performance in Chicago.
They moved in together at Taliesin in 1925, and soon Olgivanna was pregnant with their daughter, Iovanna, born on December 2, 1925.

On April 20, 1925, another fire destroyed the bungalow at Taliesin.
Crossed wires from a newly installed telephone system were deemed to be responsible for the blaze, which destroyed a collection of Japanese prints that Wright declared invaluable.
Wright estimated the loss at $250,000 to $500,000.

Wright rebuilt the living quarters again, naming the home “Taliesin III”.

In 1926, Olga’s ex-husband, Vlademar Hinzenburg, sought custody of his daughter, Svetlana.
In October 1926, Wright and Olgivanna were accused of violating the Mann Act and arrested in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
The charges were later dropped.

Wright and Miriam Noel’s divorce was finalized in 1927, and once again, Wright was required to wait for one year until marrying again.
Wright and Olgivanna married in 1928.

SOURCE: Frank Lloyd Wright
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wow!  What a dramatic life!  I couldn’t imagine a more tumultuous life.

I agree with you, Diane.

So, Frank Wright was interested in Japanese prints, wasn’t he?

Yes, he was.

What are those Japanese prints?

They are primarily ukiyo-e woodblock prints—something like this.

Look at that!…This is a woodblock print of a salacious nature, isn’t it?  I wonder if Frank Wright was a pornographic collector.

Oh, no.  Don’t jump to a hasty conclusion.  Though most famous as an architect, Wright was an active dealer in Japanese art—mostly ukiyo-e woodblock prints. He frequently served as both architect and art dealer to the same clients. That is, he designed a home, then provided the art to fill it.

I see.  He had an acute business sense as well, I suppose.

Yes, I think so, too.  In fact, Wright made more from selling art than from his work as an architect.

Is that right?  So, he had some Japanese connections.

Yes, he did.

Now, I understand how come the creator of the theme park in Karuizawa also called his park “Karuizawa Taliesin” and wanted to make it as a base for new cultural power.  This person knew Frank Wright quite well, didn’t he?

You’re telling me, Diane.

So, Frank went to Japan, didn’t he?

Yes, he did.

What did he do over there?  Did he meet another Madame Taliesin by any chance?

Well…, I’ll tell you about it some other time.

【Himiko’s Monologue】

Wow! What a tumultuous life Frank Wright had!
He had gone though a string of love affairs.

Come to think of it, I’ve never met my “Romeo”—a decent man in my life.
How come I’m always a loner?
I wish I could meet a nice gentleman at the library in my town as Diane met Kato.
Well, they say, there is a way where there is a will.

Have a nice day!
Bye bye …

If you’ve got some time,

Please read one of the following artciles:


“Queen Nefertiti”

“Catherine de Medici”

“Catherine the Great”

“Mata Hari”

“Sidonie Colette”

“Marilyn Monroe”

“Hello Diane!”

“I wish you were there!”

“Jane Eyre”

“Jane Eyre Again”

“Jane Eyre in Vancouver”

“Jane Eyre Special”

“Love & Death of Cleopatra”

“Nice Story”


“Spiritual Work or What?”

“What a coincidence!”

“Wind and Water”

“Yoga and Happiness”

“You’re in a good shape”




“Net Travel & Jane”

“Net Love”

“Complicated Love”

“Electra Complex”

“Net Début”

“Inner World”

“Madame Riviera and Burger”

“Roly-poly in the North”

“Amazing Grace”

“Diane in Paris”

“Diane in Montmartre”

“Diane Well Read”

“Wantirna South”

“Maiden’s Prayer”


“Squaw House and Melbourne Hotel”

“Tulips and Diane”

“Diane in Bustle Skirt”

“Diane and Beauty”

“Lady Chatterley and Beauty”

“Victoria Prudery”

“Diane Chatterley”

“From Canada to Japan”

“From Gyoda to Vancouver”

“Film Festival”

“Madame Taliesin”

“Happy Days”

“Vancouver Again”


“Midnight in Vancouver”

“Madame Lindbergh”

“Dead Poets Society”

“Letters to Diane”

Hi, I’m June Adames.

In 1940, Frank Lloyd Wright and his third wife, Olgivanna (December 27, 1898 – March 1, 1985), formed the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, which still exists.

Even before this organization, Taliesin Fellowship went along very well. You can see various activities in the following video clip:

Taliesin Fellowship in 1933

Birthday Celebration at Taliesin

Upon Wright’s death in 1959, ownership of the Taliesin estate in Spring Green, as well as Taliesin West, passed into the hands of the foundation.

The foundation also owns Frank Lloyd Wright’s archives and runs a school, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Nowadays, computers have come to Taliesin, and you can see some activities in the following clip:

Charles Montooth

on the advent of computers

at Taliesin










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